Peru has legalized medical marijuana following landslide approval of a bill that will allow cannabis oil to be produced, imported and sold on a local scale.  

Peru’s Congress approved the bill with a vote of 68-5. It will be written into law in roughly two months, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have been ironed out.

“We’ve ensured that thousands of patients and their family members will enjoy a better quality of life,” Alberto de Belaunde, a governing party lawmaker and advocate of the proposal, told the Guardian. “This is a historic moment and my dream is that empathy and evidence can continue to defeat fears and prejudices.

“This was not an abstract debate, it had a human face.”

In February, a police raid on a house in Lima where mothers were found to be making cannabis oil for their sick children prompted a government proposal to decriminalize medical marijuana. The laboratory was hosted by Ana Alvarez, whose 17-year-old son Anthony suffers from a severe form of epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis.

“We’re very happy with the fact that Peruvian law has approved this,” Alvarez told the Guardian. “But we’re not totally satisified.”

Alvarez said she was hoping the government would allow organizations like hers - a parent group called Buscando Esperanza or Searching for Hope - to make their own cannabis oil, as she believes they can produce it affordably and efficiently. As it stands, the bill only covers strictly regulated local production of the oil.

“We would have liked the patients’ associations to be have been allowed to produce their own cannabis oil,” De Belaunde said.

With the passing of this bill, Peru has become the sixth Latin American country or territory to legalize cannabis in some form.

h/t The Guardian